The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies has arrived back in South Africa from London, United Kingdom where he attended the inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers meeting. Minister Davies says South Africa’s investor confidence received a boost with the release of the results of a survey by the Royal Commonwealth Society and Political Lobbying and Media Relations (PLMR) that was released prior to the inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers meeting.
The survey shows that South Africa is in fifth place as a priority for the UK’s business community for trade opportunities with Commonwealth countries post-Brexit. 70% of British businesses are of the view that the Government should prioritise trade with South Africa. Notably, South Africa climbs to second place as a priority market for London business, after Canada.
Minister Davies welcomes the outcomes of the survey and says this indicates that government’s efforts to enhance the facilitation of investment is paying off.
This is in line with the objectives of InvestSA One Stop Shop (InvestSA OSS) that President Zuma will launch on 17 March 2017. The InvestSA OSS will provide strategic guidance, reduce regulatory inefficiencies, and reduce red tape for all investors looking to invest in South Africa. It will also be the focal point of contact in government for all investors. The One-Stop-Shop has already prioritised top investment projects for development and implementation. These investments will contribute to Government’s current investment pipeline of over R45bn for the coming calendar year,rdquo; sates Minister Davies.
At the inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting, Minister Davies participated in panel discussions on innovation and investment. He stressed that South Africa recognises the growth and potential of digital trade to enable developing countries to benefit, but the development of digital trade should be inclusive.
Minister Davies said the priority of the Commonwealth should focus on the development aspects of digital trade so as to address the digital and technological divide between developed and developing countries, especially in Africa. He emphasised that the development of international trade rules on e-commerce at this stage will exacerbate the marginalisation of developing countries as the pace and scale of e-commerce development across the world is unevenly spread.
On investment, Minister Davies highlighted that a project driven approach with dedicated facilitation initiatives has proven to be working in South Africa. He encouraged Commonwealth countries to share best practices on attracting and facilitating investments. UK is South Africa’s 2nd biggest trading partner in the European Union and 7th trading partner globally. South Africa’s positive trade balance with the UK has been increasing since 2014 to R14.6 billion in 2016.
Meanwhile, Minister Davies is scheduled to travel to Swaziland today to attend the SADC Ministerial meeting to consider the SADC Industrialisation Action Plan that will be tabled for adoption at the Special SADC summit of Heads of State.
Source: The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.